As Liberty prepares to go on the road this week to face Rutgers, head coach Hugh Freeze met with the media Monday afternoon. Here are some of his main talking points:


“We had a very good Sunday. While we celebrated a win, I was glad to see that our kids were kind of embarrassed as to the way we played parts of that game. That was good that I didn’t have to make them feel that way. Every sense that I got was that they were frustrated that we didn’t play to a better standard, particularly defensively. The defense has carried this football team for most of the year. Coming off what I saw from last year’s defense, I think it’s been remarkable what they’ve been able to do. Certainly Saturday night was not the level to which they’ve played. I expect them to bounce back and work extremely hard this week to make sure there’s not a repeat of that.”


“It’s a huge opportunity for us. It is a Big Ten looking football team. Their record is difficult, obviously. Their schedule is very difficult. They’ve played in most of the games for the first half and seem to struggle in the 2nd half against those Big Ten opponents. Make no mistake about it, their o-line, d-line, skill guys are Big Ten guys. Their depth is better than ours right now. It’s going to be a great challenge to handle their defensive line especially. We’ve got to find ways to protect Buckshot and to stay balanced somehow in this game against a d-line that is very talented.”

“This will be a great test for us. We are playing a team that I believe has some deeper positions than we do. The girth, the size is different than what we have faced all this year, even Syracuse was not quite this big. The 6’5″, 295 lb defensive lineman that you’re going to face, we really haven’t seen a lot of that this year. We’re getting ready to have a great test on the road, at their place. We’re excited about it. Our kids were excited yesterday to have an opportunity to go in and continue building this program, and I can’t wait to get there.”

“It’s going to be in a lot more homes than normal. It’s actually number 21 on my ways to build a program – when you get a chance on national TV, you win. It’s an opportunity for us to get the Liberty brand even more exposure. I think it’s growing every day. Certainly this is another opportunity to grow it.”

“We’re just wanting to compete against this Big Ten team and have a chance to win it in the 4th quarter. We’re trying to build this program where it’s year in, year out competing to go to bowl games. It’s exciting. I love going into arenas where you have an opportunity to do something that would be viewed as an advancement of your program and that’s the way I view this.”


“I don’t follow that stuff at all. I have these weird texts sometimes on Saturdays from friends that follow it closely. I don’t know how you look at the rosters and come up with that in this game that’s mixed with a program that is moving to FBS, like we are, and a Big Ten team. I don’t know who does that, but we’ll take it. We like being favored. When I look at the film, I think it’s going to be a dogfight for sure.”


“That’s two milestones that may stand for a while. Not many people can say they threw for 10,000+ yards, and he’s not through yet, in their career in college. Obviously. AGG’s records speak for themselves. I’m really happy for both individuals and their families. I’m happy we got to witness it.”


“We have not gotten the results back from it yet, but (WR Damian King) has had an MRI. (KR/WR) Shedro’s got a groin pulled. We will see how that comes along throughout the week. (CB) Jimmy (Faulks) moved pretty well yesterday so we expect he will be fine. Hopefully we get (Emanuel) Dabney back to give us depth at corner.”

(on who fills in at KR for Shedro Louis if he can’t go) – “Probably Ceneca (Espinoza) and (D.J.) Stubbs.”

(on Louis) – “I think he is super dangerous. It was good to see him get one the other night that counted. In his career here, provided he stays healthy, I think that you could be looking at a guy that sets some records of his own in the special teams world.”


(on the slot WR depth) – “That’s a concern this week. I’m calculating Demario Douglas will be ready. He’s going to be a really good player. We’re trying to maintain his redshirt because of the depth we thought we had at that slot position. He’s got 3 games left that he can play in. I think this is the appropriate use of the new rule. I know others have found other ways to use it, but I think this was really what all of us wanted. When your team, that has remained at an 85 scholarship limit for a long time now, and you go through the injury bug, having a guy that can play and doesn’t burn his redshirt year because he is part of the football team and your football team needs added depth for a given week like we might need this week, I think this is the reason that most of us wanted this rule. So, we’re prepared to use it this week with Demario or C.J. (Yarbrough) or any other position that we might have a need. We’re trying to be wise with it also, and use it in the games we need. We can move (Kevin) Shaa inside also, that can help us there.”

(On Brayden Monday who has played in 4 games) – “We’re trying to be wise. We think he’s going to be a really good player. Is it wise for us to play him in a small amount of snaps in more than 4 games? Which he could help us, but we’re certainly trying to, as we build, we want quality depth the next few years. It would be nice to have him as a freshman still. We’ve communicated that with all of these kids and their families. They understand and are on board with us trying to accomplish that.”


“Sunday morning it was tight, real tight. I think I’m probably protecting it in different ways. I was tight in some places I haven’t been – my upper back and my hamstrings. Barry (Finke) worked on that some yesterday. Feeling better today, it’s still tight, but I’m thankful. I stood the whole game and it was not severe pain or anything from that. Feel like I’m in a good spot.”


“One of the things we will do, is we have mandatory breakfast check this week. We will be eating our pregame meal at 8:15 on the dot. So, they’re going to be eating breakfast this week at 8:15 on the dot. They should be getting in bed by 10 o’clock, which is what the expectation will be Friday night. Whether they are asleep or not, that is where they should be. We’re preparing the whole week for this noon kick. Hopefully they realize what’s right at their fingertips for these opportunities that we’re getting ready to have on the road and they prepare accordingly with the way we practice, the way we focus, the way we handle our academics, the way we handle our social decisions, that all of it shows I’m prepared for what’s coming Saturday.”

“You can’t play early enough for me. As soon as we get up, let’s go. I know home games our fans probably enjoy night games a little more, but I love on the road game when we get an early game. We will get in there a little earlier on Friday than normal and hopefully respond well to the early kick.”